Creating a financial strategy can sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Financial strategies are all about controlling your finances and taking steps to make sure you don’t end up in debt. In this blog post, we will discuss six ways to create a financial strategy on your terms. These tips will ensure that you can maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life while not going into debt.
1. Determine Your Financial Strategy Goals
Almost everyone’s financial goals will differ, depending on the individual. Do you plan to retire in a lush condo by the beach or have enough saved for your children’s college education? What about what sort of car you should buy when your current one breaks down? To that end, your financial strategy will differ depending on your life circumstances, and determining this quickly is vital because it helps you compound your return on investment while moving towards your financial goals.
Another important thing of note is that it’s important not to get too frustrated or discouraged if your efforts don’t yield results right away. Financial success can take a long time – sometimes upwards of thirty or forty years – and your personal success may take shorter or longer. Keep pushing towards your goal consistently and you will inevitably achieve it.
2. Figure Out How Much You Need To Save Each Month
Knowing how much to save each month is the next step to creating a financial strategy on your terms. Financial experts often recommend saving around 20% of your income, but you may need more or less depending on what stage in life you are currently in and your future goals. The important thing is that it’s tailored specifically for the kind of lifestyle you want. If your goal is to retire early, for example, you’ll probably need to save considerably more during the earlier years of your career to achieve that.
3. Create A Financial Strategy Budget And Stick To It
Budgeting means sticking to a system for managing your money, which can be an effective way of ensuring that you are getting the most out of your income. A good financial strategy includes creating a plan for managing your finances and determining how much cash flow will come in regularly. We often recommend creating a simple budget spreadsheet with categories on the left hand side and costs on the right hand side. Determining your must-pay versus your should-pay and shouldn’t-pay budget items can also help you understand what’s important to your financial health and what’s not, and can often be the first step towards building a strong budget.
4. Get Rid Of All Unnecessary Monthly Expenses
As mentioned previously, bust out your calculator and make a list of all the monthly expenses you can get rid of, like your unused Netflix subscription or your daily expensive Starbucks coffee. If you can’t afford to lose any of these right now, start with the one that’s least expensive and make a plan for how much each of these will cost each month.
Cutting out your daily Starbucks probably won’t be enough to cover an entire monthly bill like rent or car insurance all at once. However, you’re playing the long game – the more time you stick to your budget, the better. Maintain your strength and try not going there every other day, and your returns will compound over time.
5. Make Sure You Have An Emergency Fund In Place
Financial planners generally recommend having six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. If you have a sudden, unexpected expense like your car breaking down or some other urgent need, like medical costs, it can help to know that there is money set aside for emergencies.
6. Consider Investing In Stocks Or Other Assets That Will Help Grow Your Money Over Time
Investing in low-cost, highly diversified index funds is often one good strategy for saving both now and later. The sooner you can build a significant portfolio of diversified stocks, the more you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the miracles of the financial world: compound interest.
That said, before you make any investment decisions, it’s essential to consider your financial goals and tolerance for risk. If you’re saving towards a goal, then the investment vehicle must be designed specifically for that purpose. Also consider your time horizons and the length of time you can invest before needing to withdraw the money.
So long as you invest wisely, the value of your investments should increase over time.
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